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Nano Research for Tomorrow's Breakthrough

Last Updated on October 18, 2017 at 12:00 AM

Originally published October 18, 2017

By Paola Perez

Junior Electrical Engineering Major

This summer I had the privilege of participating in the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI) Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program at The University of Texas at Austin.

Paola Perez
Paola Perez

I conducted research on nanotechnology for 10 weeks in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering as part of Dr. Emanuel Tutuc’s laboratory group. My project consisted of the analysis of semiconductor nanowires using Raman spectroscopy and transmission electron microscopy. I identified the strain, morphology, thickness, and elemental composition of the wires in order to understand their electronic properties. The nanoscale allows us to design tools, treatments and therapies that could surpass current technological limits.

Conducting research offered me valuable skills that cannot be taught in the classroom. It helped me combine my passion for science in the nanoscale along with the exploration of new technologies. Additionally, the REU program was an incredible experience for my professional development and growth as an engineer. It helped me become a more independent and organized person. My work with interdisciplinary students and exposure to new research practices inspired me to attain a Ph.D. in electrical engineering. I also presented my research findings at the UT Austin Symposium and the NNCI REU Convocation at Georgia Institute of Technology.

One of my favorite parts of this program was interacting with people from different backgrounds and academic interests. Their diverse perspectives taught me unique research approaches. I learned that everyone could be brought together by a shared love of learning and research. I was fortunate to meet and interact with these brilliant peers who quickly became part of my family.

Together, we explored the beautiful city of Austin. I can confidently say that I loved being part of such a diverse and unique group. I will treasure the memories and friendships that I know will last forever.

My main aspiration is to change the world by improving health care and the quality of life of individuals through the use of nanotechnology. This summer internship also could help me become a more competitive student when applying to different graduate schools. I plan to attend graduate school and continue my research into the biomedical applications of nanotechnology.